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Credit cards have been around for a while and has not really seen much change from its original design. Yes, improvements have been made over the years to improve longevity and security but nothing substantial has hit the popular form of payment in a long time. Mastercard wants to change that, they believe that in the future, making payments will be contactless and effortless, all you will need is your finger and one of their cool credit cards.
Mastercard partnered with a company named Zwipe that specializes on biometrics and offers the unit to be used in the credit cards. Basically, the new cards will have an NFC chip for contactless payments as well as a fingerprint sensor that will be used to authenticate purchases. Mastercard says that they will not store any of the user’s biometric information, rather all data will be stored securely and probably encrypted on the card itself thus preventing others from using your data to access your moolah.
An initial prototype was tested at Norway’s Sparebanken DIN bank but that design was very preliminary and had a battery which ultimately made it clunky. The newly designed card will utilise RF energy from payment terminals to power the card during transactions thus making the future credit card similar to the plastic people carry today.
Zwipe says that since transactions rely on the biometrics, it makes PINs redundant and is therefore more secure than traditional credit cards. Although it seems intriguing to rely solely on your fingers to make payments, I assume there will be some sort of PIN or password in case the biometric scan fails. Google pioneered wireless payments via Google wallet and this year Apple looks to make a huge leap in the field with Apple Pay. people will soon be warming up to the idea of biometric payment systems which makes this move by Mastercard very clever indeed.
Mastercard hopes to roll out the new system to markets in 2015, by that time people all around the world should be getting used to using biometrics more often. A bonus feature to the card is compatibility with chip terminals commonly found in the UK so if someone wishes to do things the old fashioned way, they can do so comfortably.